Net Worth Update Nov 2011 (+0.93%) – Santa Claus Rally?

Welcome to the Million Dollar Journey November 2011 Net Worth Update – Santa Claus Rally Edition. For those of you new to Million Dollar Journey, a monthly net worth update is typically posted near the end of the month (or beginning of the next) to track the progress of my journey to one million in net worth, hopefully by the time I’m 35 years old (end of 2014).  If you would like to follow my journey, you can get my updates sent directly to your email or you can sign up for the Money Tips Newsletter.

First, I’d like to apologize for the delay in this post –  my writing schedule got a bit thrown off due to the 5 year anniversary giveaway and life in general!  Between my full time career, online business, and raising two kids under age four with my wife, the schedule can get a bit hectic.

Regardless of how busy things get, I always make time for my favorite hobby – personal finance and investing.  On the tune of investing, the second half of the year was dominated by the bears.  This has brought a ridiculous amount of volatility to any portfolio that has held onto stocks.  Despite how queasy the swings can make even the most seasoned investor feel, it is important to keep perspective of the long term goals.  For me, one financial goal is to build a strong dividend income stream.  Having that goal helps me focus on buying strong dividend stocks when their valuations are attractive, which is why I have been adding positions to that account.

With volatility, there are violent market moves in both directions.  Since the end of November, the TSX has bounced with a gap up that some traders are calling Santa Claus rally.  With the never ending bad news coming from Europe, it is difficult to imagine any sustained rally but there’s always hope for market strength until the end of the year.

What do you think?  Do you think we’ve hit a sustainable rally?  Or perhaps a short term rally followed by a continuation of the down trend?

On to the numbers:

Assets: $ 661,248.00 (+0.85%)

  • Cash: $4,500 (+0.00%)
  • Savings: $65,000 (+8.33%)
  • Registered/Retirement Investment Accounts (RRSP): $117,900(+1.64%)
  • Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA):  $29,300 (-0.68%)
  • Defined Benefit Pension: $36,800 (+1.10%)
  • Non-Registered Investment Accounts: $29,700 (-1.00%)
  • Smith Manoeuvre Investment Account: $86,300 (-1.37%)
  • Principal Residence: $291,748 (+0.00%) (purchase price adjusted for inflation annually)

Liabilities$81,650 (+0.31%)

  • Principal Residence Mortgage (readvanceable): $0 (0.00%) (Paid off in 2010!)
  • Investment LOC balance: $81,650 (+0.31%)

Total Net Worth: ~$579,598.00 (+0.93%)

  • Started 2011 with Net Worth: $505,800
  • Year to Date Gain/Loss: +14.59%

Some quick notes and explanations to net worth questions I get often:

The Cash

The $4,500 cash are held in chequing accounts to meet the minimum balance so that we pay no fees (accounting for regular bill payments – ie. our credit card bill). Yes, we do hold no fee accounts also, but I find value in having an account with a full service bank as the relationship with a banker has proven useful.


Our savings accounts are held with PC Financial and ING Direct. We usually hold a fair bit of cash in case “something” comes up. The “something” can be anything that requires cash such as an investment opportunity that requires quick cash or maybe an emergency car/home repair.  We also need cash to cover any future tax liabilities.

Real Estate

Our real estate holdings consist of a primary residence and REITs plus a rental property. The value of the principal residence remains valued at the purchase price (+inflation) despite significant appreciation in the local real estate market.


The pension amount listed above is the value of both of our defined benefit pension plans.  I basically take the semi annual statement and add the contribution amounts (not including employer matching) on a monthly basis.  The commuted value of the pensions are not included in the statements as they are difficult to estimate.

Stock Broker Accounts

Another common question is which discount broker do I use? We actually have accounts with multiple institutions.  I’m hoping to reduce the number of accounts that we hold in the near future.  Here is a review of some of the more popular online stock brokers.

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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12 years ago

On future tax liabilities on RRSP’s:

I just started estimating the deferred tax liability on my RRSP, and it’s a sizable sum.

In the worst case scenario of “cashing in”, you could be owing about $50,000 in taxes. In a more reasonable scenario of orderly withdrawal, it could still cost you about $25k to $30k.

I think it’s reasonable to keep track of significant future liabilities if one bothers to track networth at all.

12 years ago

Question: If you post a net worth update in December, shouldn’t it be “Net Worth Update Dec 2011”, instead of November? My thinking is that it should reflect the month that you are giving the update and not the past month. I understand the gain is from the last month but the “update” was given in this month, December.

If you think in years instead of months and were writing a yearly update in January 2012, wouldn’t you call it a 2012 update and not 2011?

I only bring it up because I’ve begun doing monthly net worth updates myself and it looks like I’m a month ahead now.

On Demand
12 years ago

Do you employ any hedging tool against the downturn of the market? Cause we focus on dividends. would hedging help stabling the whole portfolio? I used FAZ and it seems work well with my portfolio.

12 years ago

Frugal jinxed the santa clause rally. lol

My Own Advisor
12 years ago

I’m always so pumped to read these posts. Well done FT.

Will definitely include this post in my Weekend Reading roundup!

12 years ago

Hrm… FT, aren’t you afraid of getting to 1M? Seems like you are heading there quickly.

And by afraid, of course, I mean that you’ll have to rename your blog!! :)

Maybe I should quickly register fivemilliondollarjourney :)

12 years ago

Great gains for 2011! I am confident you’ll reach your goal of $1,000,000 by 2014 for sure :)

Liquid Independence
12 years ago

Nice gain. I’m pretty happy with the market in 2011. Hope it does better next year though.